Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NAPO TO BABAG TALES XXII: Father's Day Special

IT IS FATHER'S DAY, June 21, 2009.

I am going up to Mount Babag today and I am alone.

Yeah, alone...


I have no problem walking alone. I find good therapy in the silence and I love the sound of my voice. I talk to myself. Yes, hum a song. Imitate a bird call. That's what you do when you're bored.

From my home, I rode a public jitney in the early morn for the downtown area then another jitney for Guadalupe. I arrived in time for the Holy Mass at six at the Our Lady of Guadalupe de Cebu Parish. The mass ended at 7:15 AM and I bought fifty pesos worth of bread from a nearby bakery and went to the back of the church to eat at an eatery.

Securing my packed lunch, I left the eatery at 7:45 AM and do the customary warm-up walk on the concrete-and-asphalt road to Napo – a distance of about 2.5 kilometers. I walked an easy pace and arrived at 8:30 AM and, without taking a rest, proceeded to cross the first river crossing.

I arrived at nine at the second river crossing and fetched my drinking water at the nearby spring. Saw a man fording the stream with his son above his shoulders. Ah, what a perfect scene for Father's Day. I rested for about ten minutes and resumed my trek.

The sun shone hot this day and I slowly climbed the ascending trail to Sitio Busan then to Manwel Roble's place. I arrived at 9:40 AM.

I brought out my bread and gave this to Manwel's younger brother, Jucel, who jumped up and down upon seeing me. I rested at the long bamboo benches and savored the opportunity to enjoy their company, the view and the breeze. Overhead, I saw clumps of ripe duhat and my taste buds began to crave the sweet purple fruit.

Instantly, father and son climbed the tree and collected two plastic bags, half-full, and I enjoyed munching the ripe fruits. The duo told me that Boy Toledo, Ernie Salomon, Glenn Domingo and Jecris Dayondon were here yesterday and ate also of the duhat fruit. And jackfruit too. They tarried long at the benches and ate their packed lunch here and, afterwards, drank Tanduay Rum chased with powdered tea and young coco water. Then they forgot to climb Mt. Babag, maybe too drunk to go on.

So, that's why there's an empty bottle of Tanduay and an empty pack of Nestea under the benches. Leave no trace, my ass! I told you it would not apply in these islands. Not with Boy T around.

I stowed the picked duhats inside my backpack and went on my way to Babag Ridge via Ernie's Trail. I left at exactly 10:30 AM. I followed the trail for the uppermost part of the Sapangdaku River and saw that the vegetation along the trail were greatly distorted and smothered away from their original positions.

I was greatly annoyed by the appearance of the trail until Manwel came after me and gave me the answers. He averred that there were twenty-six campers passing by last night and he saw no familiar faces in the group. Jeez! Some people and clubs are downright irresponsible. See? LNT wouldn't work here. There are too many nincompoops who would rather practice their ignorance and carelessness. What a shame.

Facing a grove of bamboo uphill, the trail followed by last night's group veered to the right of the true trail named after my good friend, Ernie. I am glad that our trail remained pristine when I passed by. Shame again to them. They should have availed of Manwel's services1 to guide them safely to a good trail. They missed the best trail here and, besides, their kind don't deserve to follow Ernie's Trail.

I enjoyed the moments of silence as I slowly ascend the mountain trail with Manwel following me. I thought I heard a melody of a black shama and they were quite near. Three juvenile black shamas appeared with their unmistakable black feathers and I feel fortunate today. This is the second time I saw this endemic bird here in the Babag Mountain Range.

The sun was hot but the trail is quite shady so the heat never bothered me, although I was sweating hard. I arrived on the ridge at 12:15 noon and proceed to pass by the shoulder of Mt. Babag to eat my packed lunch with Manwel at a store 300 meters away.

I loaned my cellphone to Manwel afterwards so he could make use of a vacant time and play a game while I took a nap at the wooden bench where the cool breeze lulled me to dreamland. After an hour, I woke up and started on my way downhill back to Guadalupe. This time, I will tackle the No-Santol-Tree Trail and I will be guiding Manwel, for a change.

As we were still treading the Babag Ridge Road the heavens begun to rumble and big drops of liquid started to fall. Gosh, it'll gonna be slippery at the NST Trail today and I just hope that my McKinleys would hold its ground. As I feared, the trail IS very slippery. Rivulets of water made the trail river-like and the smooth rocks along it are just too dangerous for a misstep.

It was raining hard and lightning flashed so near and the thunder so deafening! I decided to stay for a while under the protection of the trees afraid that these thunder bolts would strike at us in the open. I was worried about Manwel. We both were drenched wet and so unprotected.

Nevertheless, we pursued our quest for Guadalupe and passed by pocket forests of tangguile and teak trees. The trails were greatly immersed with water and as I tread my shoes on it, the soil would gave way underfoot especially on the narrowest part of the trail where it is most dangerous.

My training shoes failed to grip the slimy soil and I used all ten fingers as anchors to dig the ground to keep myself falling. Rain stung my eyes partly blinding me to get a good view of the foliage around me. The sheer weight of water on the leaves broke whole trunks and branches blocking the trail. The rains made a raging river out of a dry water course.

Up ahead, I heard a roar of water before I saw it. I never knew a waterfall existed near our route and, there just across us, is a brown cascade of a great volume of water. Walking on, I saw glimpses of the swollen stream below me. Then we passed by Turtle Rock and Manwel was so amazed and mystified by the rock formation.

Finally, we reached a trio of tamarind trees marking the end of the No-Santol-Tree Trail and we went downhill amongst a field of cogon grass until we reached Kalunasan Road. The dirt road was reduced into a swirling river of rain run-offs coming from above the hills.

Some part of the road were partly blocked by landslides that occurred earlier and one stretch we passed by became a run for life when boulders from above us came tumbling down the road. We walked in the middle of the road just in case if the ground below us would collapse if it is undermined by water and be safe enough to look out for falling rocks overhead.

We walked and ran for an hour in which the rain never ceased until the time we reached the branch of the road leading to Guadalupe. We crossed the Harlemermeer Bridge and watched the surging current of the Sapangdaku River unfolding its power below us.

At 2:50 PM we reached the back of the Guadalupe parish and I parted ways with Manwel. His father would be with him any time soon. I finished this day's journey well ahead of schedule and looked forward to enjoy the surplus of time with Ernie. I was soaking wet as I rode the jitney.

Ernie went out to meet me while Boy T, who was visiting his grandchildren nearby, came later. We talked of my just-concluded trek and their yesterday's misadventure over cold bottles of beer. We three then went together to attend a fiesta celebration in the interior of Espina Village. And that wrapped up my semi-solo journey today.

Happy Father's Day.

Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer

1Manwel Roble. Call or text him at 0932-483-9234.


Walt said...

This is what I was looking for the first time I came here. But for some reaason the comments were missing. I will be back my friend, I have much more reading to do.

free blogger templates said...

hey you have a great adventures in life their. good luck to your travels

PinoyApache said...

Sure Walt, you are very welcome and you can fill in the blanks! Hee hee... ;-)

Hi, Stella. My life is already an adventure in itself. Too many trials but rather glad I don't have to pay lawyers. Hee hee... LoL

FreeZeBox said...

sir, thanks for paying some visit on my site...I'm also a quiet visitor on your blog and I really love reading your adventure chronicle, it's kinda inspirational.

PinoyApache said...

Salamat @FreeZeBox. Balik-balik suroy.

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